This morning’s devotional is offered by Julie Earnhardt.
Last week baby Jesus went on a journey. It wasn’t the typical journey you hear about at Christmas. In fact it was an unplanned journey, prepared and executed by a five year old. Baby Jesus ventured out to tour the playroom, meet Barbie and her friends, and even slept briefly in a heap of purple playdough. The very fragile Baby Jesus was carefully protected by the steady hands of a busy little girl, until the excitement of baby Jesus meeting Santa went astray.
For many years our family nativity scene is the first decoration we place in our home as we prepare for Christmas. Our children know how important this particular decoration is to us. As a newly married couple, we splurged our first Christmas and bought this beautiful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. In fact, we built the stable ourselves out of the leftover wood from our first home. Each year as we carefully put all of the pieces in the perfect place, we marvel at the intricate details of the characters and retell the Christmas story. We end by reminding our kids, to only look and not touch. Apparently this year, curiosity got the best of our youngest and she forgot the expectations.
The porcelain baby Jesus suffered a pretty bad fall during his adventure and lost a limb. In a panic our daughter, used multiple band-aides to try to reattach his leg without informing us. She carefully placed him back in Mary’s arms and did not return to the stable.
Several days later we happened to notice that things didn’t look exactly right in the nativity scene. After discovering the mishap, we questioned our kids. Through guilty looking eyes filled with tears, the most precious answer surfaced. “Mom, I am sorry. I wanted to take baby Jesus to meet Santa. It was an accident that his leg fell off. I asked God to forgive me for breaking baby Jesus and he said, SURE! That’s just how it works, right?”
The process of discovering baby Jesus’ broken leg was a good reminder of how things needn’t be complicated, time consuming or complex for the experience to be joy filled and memorable. Baby Jesus is now tucked away in the manger at our house, covered in band-aides. Our nativity scene does not look as perfect as it once did, but now serves as a simple reminder to our family that the story is much deeper than a baby born in a manger. He is the perfect gift given from God. The precious Christmas story reminds us of a baby that brought forgiveness and hope. And because of that we can experience the greatest JOY known, even when things aren’t perfect.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8)